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Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

Roseville...
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Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

Hello everyone!

We're looking for a harbour for the south coast of Devon for next summer (2011) before going on to Cornwall. We'd like to see the differences between Devon and Cornwall, so we're looking for a beauty spot with great small hotel and food. Plus we'd like to see churches, gardens nearby. We'd like to arrive by train and use public transport around. We're Yanks but have been to UK many times and like the charming, untouristy spots. We're foodies too.

We might go in September so as to avoid crowds (and other Americans). We will probably fly into London Heathrow.

Any ideas?? All suggestions welcome.

Exeter, UK
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1. Re: Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

Take the train to Axminster, and from there bus or taxi to the lovely fishing village of Beer. This is East Devon, not South, but it has so many great places to stay, eat and drink, you won't be disappointed! Check out www.eastdevonexcellence.co.uk for some great ideas.

Enjoy!

Devon, UK
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2. Re: Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

I agree, East Devon is better than South Devon, but then again, I am biased. Beer is pretty much central on the World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast and there are plenty of beauty spots around.

Just inland from Beer you will find the (small) town of Colyton. The Kingfisher Inn there regularly features in guides for good food and beer. Also in Colyton, you will find a rare example of a church 'octagonal lantern tower' at St Andrews church - well worth a visit.

In Cornwall, you might find Padstow of interest. Great harbour and of course one of our most famous TV chefs has his home and restaurant there, Rick Stein.

Devizes, United...
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3. Re: Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

Padstow is pleasant enough but it gets overrun these days due to the "Stein" phnomenon. Take away the restaurant, the bistro, the gift shop, the cake shop and all the other businesses he wons in the town, and ther's not much left. It's almost become a Stein "theme park" which is a shame.

For a real, and much more authentic taste of Cornwall, take a look at Polperro, Port Isaac, Mevagissey and lots of little habour villages down on the Lizard like Mullion Cove, Coverack, Cadgwith, and so on.

Somerset UK
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4. Re: Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

Dartmouth would suit your needs completely. It's in South Devon and although not on a railway line itself you could get a taxi from either Paignton or Totnes or even the steam railway from Paignton to Kingswear and then the passenger ferry across the river to Dartmouth. Parts of South Devon are tatty but to say that East Devon is better than South Devon is not the case, they're just different. The South Hams area of South Devon has beautiful countryside and beaches and you can go on river trips up the estuaries which you can't do in East Devon (apart from the River Exe which arguably could be either South or East Devon)..

You can get a ferry from Dartmouth up the River Dart to Greenway where Agatha Christie had her summer home. You (the Americans) took it over in WWII and you would find it fascinating. The house (now part of the National Trust) was only opened to the public in 2009 and there are gardens to walk around too.

Dartmouth itself has plenty of pubs/restaurants with nice walks close by.

One alternative (and perhaps fellow posters would agree) is not to base yourself on the coast but somewhere like Exeter (a nice city in itself) where you could take day trips in either direction. There is a wider choice of both accommodation and eating/drinking options with reasonable transport by either bus or rail to both East and South Devon.

Exeter, UK
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5. Re: Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

Exeter is not a bad suggestion as a base for people relying on public transport. Trains run from there to places like Topsham, Lympstone, Exmouth, Barnstaple, Torquay, Totness, Dartmouth (via steam train from Paignton), and many different buses into Dartmoor, or the X53 along Jurassic Coast. Good hotel in Exeter is the Abode (opposite cathedral), which also houses Michael Caine's (no, not the 'blow the bloody door off' variety) restaurant.

Or try the Globe in Topsham.

Enjoy.

Roseville...
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6. Re: Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

Thanks very much for the recommendation for the East Devon site. It has much useful information.

Roseville...
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7. Re: Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

Dartmouth sounds very interesting. Any suggestions for accomodation there? restaurants? sights?

Thanks very much!

Roseville...
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8. Re: Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

Thanks to all who have contributed. We've been to Padstow before and like the south coast of Cornwall better (also, I agree that Padstow has become too touristy). We're thinking of a base in St. Ives for this trip.

On the subject of Devon, can anyone comment on Kingsbridge or Salcombe as bases?

Also, what are the touristy spots we should definitely avoid?

We are fairly certain we don't want to drive, by the way. On our last trip we managed to clobber a parked car as left the car hire place. Fortunately, it was only the side mirror that we hit (it bounced back quite nicely). My husband's hair turned white overnight, however, as a result of the driving. We'd rather relax on holiday and not be overcome by anxiety attacks--hence the decision to use public transport.

middle england
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9. Re: Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

I find it curious that when chymn says he/she does not want to drive, some people recommend places that are poorly served by public transport - Beer for example. And I would certainly agree that East Devon is not better than South Devon, just different. But South Devon is MUCH better served by public transport than East Devon and local rail fares are cheap. The coastline between Dawlish and Teignmouth is worth the price of a train ticket by itself. And no-one has mentioned the top tourist attractiion, which is the round robin trip - boat from Totnes to Barmouth, ferry to Kinswear, steam railway to Paignton and open top bus to Totnes - one of the best value days out in the country.

10. Re: Port-o-Call on south coast of Devon

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